Environmental Specialist

For many, finding a great new career means finding something that rewards them financially as well as personally. There has been a gradually shifting focus in the American consciousness about the environment over the last decade, and today many desire to work in a field that allows them to help preserve the environment, improve the health of those living in a particular area, and more.

Becoming an environmental specialist is one of the best ways to secure a career that offers excellent salary opportunities, good job growth, and the personal satisfaction that comes with knowing that you have helped the greater good. If you feel like becoming an environmental specialist may be right for you, consider the following information.

What Is an Environmental Specialist?

An environmental specialist is an expert in natural science. They focus on using their skills and knowledge to help protect and improve the environment while also making a positive impact in human health and well-being. By improving and protecting the environment, a direct impact on human health will be noticed.

Potential job duties working as an environmental specialist include:

  • Collecting and analyzing samples including soil, water, plant material, and more
  • Monitoring facilities that could impact the environment or the public such as restaurants or pools
  • Investigate complaints or situations related to the environment and public health
  • Consult with clients or agencies about particular situations or issues
  • Evaluate environmental health issues
  • Develop and implement plans to improve different aspects of the environment
  • Prepare reports related to specific issues having to do with the environment
  • Provide support services and research to environmental engineers or others in a related field of work
  • Work on cleaning up polluted areas or develop a process to do so
  • Work with companies to develop ways to reduce waste and pollution

The job duties of an environmental specialist can vary a great deal depending on their employer, where they work, and much more.

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Working as an environmental specialist can be incredible rewarding, but the fact is that it isn’t for everyone. There are certain personal characteristics that can help enhance one’s ability to do the job well. Good areas to have strengths in include the following.

  • Good Organization Abilities – Environmental specialists spend a good bit of time gathering data and samples, and often work on multiple issues at any given time. As such, it’s important for them to be able to organize their information and their data properly.
  • Capable of Working Inside And Outdoors – The type of work done by these professionals means that they spend a good bit of time inside as well as outdoors. Those who dislike either may need to consider a different profession.
  • Strong Communication Skills – Communication is a key part of an environmental specialists job duties. They may need to present reports to an organization, deliver a speech on policy changes that should occur, or simply explain their data to a colleague. In all instances, good communication is a must.

Nature of the Work

Those who assume a role as an environmental specialist will work in a variety of places and handle different tasks. In some instances field work will be required, gathering data and measuring various levels or charting conditions of an area. Lab work is common, and many environmental specialists log a huge number of lab hours as they analyze their samples and information. Office work is also a regular part of the job, from preparing reports to speaking with clients or others in the field.

In short, the work of an environmental specialist is varied and will depend in large part upon their employer, their focus area, and much more.

Education and Training

To become an environmental specialist, a college degree will be required. Usually a bachelor’s degree in natural science or a similar field is the key entry point into the field. Some programs require hands on field work to be combined with coursework before graduation is possible, and these courses usually do a better job of preparing a student for work in the field.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there will be a 15% job growth in the field over the next decade, a rate that is faster than the national average. Currently those working as environmental specialists earn a median wage of $63,570 – a figure well above the average salary rate for the nation.


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